A simple dictionary definition of ‘freedom’ shows that it implies the power to think, act, and speak as one deems fit without any hindrance. It also denotes the power of ‘being’ or ‘doing’. When many countries in Africa gained independence in the 1950s and beyond, this notion of freedom was what they all aspired to. And although many countries have been formally detached from their colonial heritage, most of them remain attached to the colonial intellectual roots. This practice is opposed to the independence and development that African countries have sought for several years, and thus, it kills initiative and renders the efforts towards freedom and sustained development meaningless.
Therefore, African people should think creatively from within and produce knowledge that is more in tune with an African context rather than depending on books, theories, and approaches from elsewhere. Until Africa gains a substantial ability to think, act and speak for itself through progressive scholarship and writing, ‘true’ intellectual freedom and home-grown development will be unlikely.
Andrews and Okpanachi (2012)
Trends of Epistemic Oppression and Academic Dependency in Africa’s Development
The Journal of Pan African Studies, vol.5, no.8, December 2012